Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was first passed in 2010, it has been a long 7 years of fighting against any attacks to the ACA and fighting for our pre-existing condition coverage, our rehabilitation and habilitation therapy and devices, our Medicaid.

Senate Republicans failed to muster enough votes to adopt their “skinny” Obamacare repeal bill early Friday, July 28, 2017.  Just before 2:00 am on Friday July 28, the bill to repeal Obamacare failed by just 2 votes, 49-51.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona voted against the bill, along with all Democrats in the House.  All of you who live in Maine, Alaska and Arizona, please thank them for listening to you. You can contact them through our Action Center.

The repeal bill that the Senate failed to adopt would have eliminated the law’s requirement for most individuals to have health insurance and would have repealed the employer mandate for eight years. It also would have expanded Obamacare waivers allowing states to not include certain benefits in their insurance plans such as rehabilitation therapy and other benefits. The Congressional Budget Office projected that the Senate bill would lead to 16 million more uninsured Americans.

The reason why we advocated and you advocated so hard on this was that even if some might have supported the ‘skinny’ repeal bill, the Senate version would have had to be conferenced (joined) with the House version which passed earlier this year.  The House version had approximately $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid.  The conferenced version (with some changes to Medicaid and other provisions) would have potentially been the bill signed by the President.

That’s why we were fighting and continue to fight.

Under the proposed cuts to Medicaid in the conferenced bill, people with disabilities would have lost their home and community based services.  Without the right community supports and services, institutionalization becomes the only option, individuals can become sicker and can die without their right benefits, services and support. With states being allowed to provide less in their plans, this leads to fewer and fewer people enrolling which leads to more insurers leaving the marketplace – this would have been a nightmare for our membership.

As Justin Dart said: “Vote as if your Life Depended on it…Because it Does” (Justin Dart, 1930-2002)

Justin Dart at signing of ADA

Justin Dart on the far right seated next to President George H.W. Bush, signing the Americans with Disabilities Act into law, July 26, 1990

So for now, we are in a good position, take some time to reflect, congratulate yourselves. We will be back at it next week and the weeks and months to follow. Our attention in the weeks ahead will now turn to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and to the White House and to any regulatory changes that may negatively impact the ACA.

Thank you for writing, emailing, voting, showing up. I know Justin Dart thanks you.